George Widmer Thorn Biography

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Who is George Widmer Thorn? Information on George Widmer Thorn biography, life story, works and contributions to science.

George Widmer ThornGeorge Widmer Thorn; (1906- 2004), American physician and physiologist perhaps best known for his study of the hormones of the adrenal cortex—work that led to a method of treating Addison’s disease and to other important advances.

Working with Frank A. Hartman at the University of Buffalo Medical School, Thorn became interested in adrenal cortex extract. He developed a biological assay method useful in purifying the hormone, directed clinical tests of the extract that showed how it affected carbohydrate and mineral metabolism, and recognized its usefulness in treating Addison’s disease. Thorn later used adrenal hormone pellets implanted in dogs to determine the rate of absorption and the doses needed to treat adrenal insufficiencies. He also pioneered in the clinical use of ACTH, in ways of detecting adrenal insufficiencies, and in human kidney transplantation.

Thorn was born in Buffalo, N. Y., on Jan. 15, 1906. He received his M. D. degree from the University of Buffalo Medical School in 1929, held positions in the physiology and medicine departments there, and then studied and worked at other universities. In 1942 he was named physician in chief to the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston and Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic at Harvard University. In 1967 he also became Levine Professor of Medicine.

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